Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Diocese of Venice FL Hosts Bioethics Conference

Diocese of Venice Hosts Bioethics Conference 2009

On March 21 at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Fort Myers, his Excellency Bishop Frank J. Dewane hosted the second annual bioethics conference in the Diocese of Venice. The tables of the hall were full as Bishop Dewane gave a brief introduction during which he confirmed how important it was to examine and understand bioethics in our culture today. The bishop's special guest from the Vatican, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, then graciously took his place at the podium.

The Cardinal's lecture, over one hour in length, looked at human life, its origins, and its organic movement of relationships and finality. Using a scientific, philosophical and theological approach, he clearly demonstrated that a proper view of human life is contrary to modern culture's view of human life. He started with the basics of human genetics and clarified what human life is in regard to science. He then looked at human life in light of the ancient philosophers. Next he touched on the Malthusian mentality in the world today, which neglects the sanctity of human life. Finally he tied it all together theologically by looking at Sacred Scripture, the Incarnation of Christ and the love of the Holy Trinity. The Cardinal clearly demonstrated that the Catholic view of life, emphasizing movement from death to life, is in complete opposition to the world, which views human life as a movement from life to death. A clear point made by the Cardinal was the importance of opposition in relationships, without privation. Using the Holy Trinity he demonstrated that God who gives life, does so in a loving donation. He then concluded by saying that the only possible life is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Other speakers included John Haas, Ph.D., who spoke on the key principals of natural law and double effect, and later gave another talk on the job duties of healthcare workers and the avoidance of co-operation with evils such as abortion. Marie Hilliard, RN., Ph.D., then spoke on the topics of sexual assault, Plan B emergency contraception, and the duty of health care workers when they face personal risk. The conference closed when the Cardinal presented a gift to Bishop Dewane and Bishop Dewane thanked the Cardinal for his support and encouragement of the event. Bishop Dewane then presented some awards. The Bishop and the Cardinal appeared joyous throughout the event and remained engaged with the laity during the course of the day. The Cardinal even had a private meeting with some students who attended the event, during which he answered questions about healthcare education and related some personal anecdotes from his experiences in the Vatican.

Other contributers to the event included Rev. Ed McNamara, Rev. Joseph Keane, Dave and Mary Reardon, Devin Jones, Joanne Gorgone, R.N., Judy Abler, Terri Foley, R.N., Scott Gray, Stephen Hannan, M.D., the Ethics Committee of LMHS, several registration volunteers, and four private sponsors.

Overall this bioethics conference was a unique experience for everyone who attended. I am looking forward to next year's conference.

By: Matthew James Bellisario 2009

Bishop Frank J. Dewane opens the conference.

Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan gives his lecture on human life.

John Haas, Ph.D., giving a lecture on the law of double effect.

Closing comments by the Cardinal while the Bishop and Monsignor look on with approval.

A candid shot of the Cardinal and Bishop Dewane as they make their exit.


Alexander Greco said...

These events are extremely important in dispelling the myths which surround bioethics and human life. I find it the case that there are more people, when supplied with the facts, are more prone to uphold a true philosophy of human life in keeping with true human dignity and natural law. The problem resides in the current mediums of information. Since the days of Archbishop Fulton Sheen there has not been a strong catholic voice in primetime television in order to reach out to the masses. You’ll rarely find reasonably solid arguments articulated in the cable news networks either.

It is vital that events like the bioethics conference continue to take place, and hopefully attract more people. I would also make it mandatory for the catholic school teachers to attend these conferences, as well as video tape them and show them to their students.

We must reclaim the minds and hearts of the youth, and instill in them a sound, logical and principled ethic of human life.

Anonymous said...

matt, small point. The bishop is "his excellency" the cardinal is "his eminence"

Matthew Bellisario said...

Thanks I'll blame that on my editor!